How can I find out about pre-law related events?
Enroll in our Pre-Law Newsletter via Handshake. In your Handshake profile, select “Pre-Law” and you will subscribe to our newsletter regarding workshops, law school visits, employment opportunities, etc.
How do I develop a list of target schools?
There are many considerations to keep in mind when choosing where to attend law school. Though hardly exhaustive, here is a list of questions to ask yourself that will aid in your decision-making process. We also recommend that you schedule an appointment with your pre-law advisor as you weigh your options.
- The Program: Does it have a national or regional reputation? Is it practical or theoretical in its approach to legal education? How flexible is the curriculum in allowing you to cross-register to pursue your unique interests? Are there joint-degree programs? Is the program full-time only or are there part-time and evening programs? What types of clinical offerings and externships are available? Are there enough clinical slots to accommodate student demand?
- The Setting: Is the environment of the school urban, suburban, or a university campus? Is public transportation available? What is the availability, cost, and desirability of the housing? Do most students live in University-affiliated housing or in individually owned apartments nearby? Is the campus a place where you feel cultural compatibility?
- The Students: What are the gender, racial, and socio-economic backgrounds of the students? What size is the entering class? How competitive/collaborative are students with each other? Are students ranked? How many matriculants enroll directly from their undergraduate programs and how many take at least one year (or more) off before they enroll? How large are the 1L (first-year) sections? Does the school offer small, seminar style classes after first year?
- The Faculty: How accessible is the faculty? What is the student-faculty ratio? Do faculty members maintain open office hours? What are the particular strengths or interests of the faculty? Are they engaged in scholarly work, applied work, or a combination of both? Is there sufficient faculty in the area(s) that interest you most?
- Financial Considerations: What is the overall cost of attending the school, including tuition, fees, books, housing and transportation? Is need-based and or merit-based financial aid available? To qualify for need-based aid, is family financial information required? What is the average debt load of graduates? Is there a loan repayment program for lawyers who go on to public interest work?
- Career Placement: Where are graduates employed? What are their salary ranges? What assistance is given for locating summer and part-time work? Who recruits on campus and do they interview all students, or only a small percentage? How much support, financially and otherwise, is available for graduates who wish to pursue a non-law firm (i.e., public service) track?
Do you have any advice for requesting letters of recommendation?
When asking for letters of recommendation, it is important to get a genuine sense whether the letter writer is indeed willing to write for you. Your request should be phrased in such a way that, if the potential recommender does not feel comfortable writing for you, he or she can gracefully decline. A tactful question, for example, might be, “Do you feel you know me well enough to write a strong letter of recommendation supporting my applications to law school?” With that in mind, you should aim to make this request in person if possible; if not, then a phone call or email is appropriate.
Once the person agrees to write a letter of recommendation on your behalf, it can be helpful to discuss your academic interests and your career plans with your recommender. Letters are most effective when the writer can describe you as being well-suited to a particular goal. Remember that career goals are a work in progress and that you can easily discuss your general interests, as well as specific plans, depending on your situation. Your recommender will also be curious about your background. To that end, providing an updated resume, current transcript, and any other relevant information is usually helpful.
Once your recommender agrees to write on your behalf, it is always useful to mention your timeframe and, if necessary, a general deadline by which you would like this letter submitted. Giving a recommender at least 3-4 weeks to write a letter on your behalf is a good rule of thumb. Be as flexible as possible, while still maintaining a realistic sense of when this task must be completed. After the initial request has been made, you should feel free to follow up appropriately, but not excessively.
How can I finance my law school education?
There are a number of fantastic resources available for students interested in financing their law degree. Using the following resources to connect to various options.
- Fast Web
- FinAid! – The Smart Student Guide to Financial Aid
- Financing Law School (LSAC)
- Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
- National Council of Higher Education Resources (NCHER)
- One Lawyer Can Change the World Scholarship
- Sallie Mae
- U.S. Department of Education, Office of Postsecondary Education